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The Jefferson County Sound tells the unsung story of  African American gospel quartets who, in the Jim Crow, era blazed a trail leading the way to secular music forms that came later.  Much of the story takes place in Jefferson County, Alabama, the industrial and mining center where “hard” gospel had its roots.  The church was the focal point of this newly urbanized community, quartet music its principal form of entertainment. Jefferson County quartets developed a distinctive, driving sound just as radio and records vastly expanded the audience for music by black singers and musicians. To hear the gospel quartet music recorded on phonograph records in the 1940s, 50s and 60s – the “golden age” of quartet singing – is to discover a vital source of Motown, soul music and rhythm and blues.  The Jefferson County Sound features quartets both famous and forgotten, the soundtrack for an era of rising hopes and enduring faith.

 
       

Interviews:

WBHM RADIO

Alabama Arts

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Reviews:

Birmingham News

Tuscaloosa News

Swampland

 

This film was funded by the Southern Humanities Media Fund, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama Arts Council, the South Carolina Humanities Council, the Hugh Kaul Foundation, the Alabama Law Foundation and Humanities Texas.

 

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